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Asthma - Prevention

To expose or not to expose: that is the question. 


Sorry Shakespeare, but if you have an infant, this is a far more important question than almost any other.


And itís the question that just about every parent grapples with at some point in her childrenís lives.  Many parents try to reduce exposure to potential allergens in hopes of sparing their child from eventually developing asthma. Other parents however, believe that a 

little exposure to potential allergens builds up their childrenís immune systems and makes them more resistant to developing the disorder.


And for the longest time, the medical community sided with those who shielded their children from as many possible irritants as possible.  But now, evidence seems to be mounting for the theory of exposure.


Thatís right!  Some studies suggest that early exposure to those potential allergens that may prompt an attack may, indeed, help your child build a very real immunity to these substances.  This in turn may actually prevent asthma from ever developing.


Having said that, there are still a few ways you can help keep asthma at bay in your family.  And, yes, some of these do involve staying away from some allergens.


If youíre pregnant Ė donít smoke.  You already know this, Iím sure.  But now you have one more additional reason to give up smoking during your pregnancy. Need we say more?


Donít smoke inside your home when your children are very young.   If you do smoke and canít seem to conquer the habit yet, then donít smoke inside your home while your child is very young.  Exposure to second hand smoke not only ups your childís chances of developing asthma, it also increases her vulnerability to developing other respiratory problems.


Breast feed your infant for at least her first six months.  Believe it or not, breast milk helps to strengthen your babyís immune system.  This is especially important during the first six months of your babyís life.  And the added bonus is that this stronger immune system will help your little one resist other respiratory infections as well.


If at all possible, avoid day care for the very, very young.  This might not be possible, considering the cost of living these days.  Two-income households are common these days just to provide the very necessities of life.  Group day care centers are chock full of the very substances that can easily cause a respiratory infection.  Consider some alternatives.  Is there a relative you can pay to watch your baby while youíre at work?


And now, one word on prevention of adult-onset asthma: aspirin.


As strange as that may sound, it may very well be the case.  The evidence is by no means conclusive yet, but at the very least itís an intriguing possibility.  The discovery was made, by the way, quite by accident.  Researchers were testing aspirin for its effectiveness at preventing heart attacks, when the results seemed to provide some amazing statistics.


Researchers noticed that adults who took aspirin regularly were about 22 percent less likely to be diagnosed with asthma.  Those conducting the study are the first to caution that this is just the preliminary evidence.  They also want to make it clear that taking aspirin will prevent an asthma attack if youíve already been diagnosed with the disease.


In fact, they want to remind those who already have asthma that taking aspirin can actually be a trigger to an attack.  Aspirin can actually cause a bronchospasm, which results in an attack.


And that is why this finding is so terribly intriguing.  You certainly donít want to start taking aspirin just to prevent asthma.  But, if youíre already taking it for your heart or to alleviate your chronic pain, then perhaps you can breathe easier (pun intended) knowing youíre not going to develop asthma.



Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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